Essential Economic Development Questions for Local Officials

Whether your community has an economic development organization or your community is thinking of creating a committee to foster economic development, the following are essential questions that need to be asked on a frequent basis:


  • Does the economic development committee/organization have a current, written strategic plan?  Is that information shared with municipal council, the business community and the general public?
  • What are the priorities in the economic development strategic plan?
  • Does the economic development group have a yearly work plan where it sets out specific measurable goals/objectives to be accomplished within the current operating year?
  • What is the reporting mechanism for increasing community awareness of economic development initiatives and successes in the community?
  • What is being done to promote the competitive advantages of the community?
  • What is being done to retain and sustain current businesses?
  • Does the community have a website that is constantly being updated and improved to provide appropriate information for potential developers/investors, business and industry, newcomers and residents?
  • What role do local elected officials play in economic development?
  • Has the local economic development program been evaluated by community stakeholders?


Remember, community economic development (CED) is a holistic approach encompassing both community and business development.  It enables communities to take ownership of their own economic future and chart the course they will take to attain and maintain sustainable growth.  CED is long term development and therefore, planning for CED should involve all sectors of the community.  There are no overnight successes and ‘quick fixes’ in economic development – it is a process that requires not just municipal council but a wide range of community stakeholder involvement, participation and direction.


Submitted by:

Edie Spagrud, Ec.D.